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Grid penalty drops Russell to last

Mat Coch

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Sunday 2nd August, 2020 - 9:22am

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George Russell

George Russell has been handed a grid penalty after it was deemed he did not slow sufficiently for yellow flags during qualifying.

The Williams driver will take a five place penalty as a result, dropping him to last on the 20 car grid.

After reviewing video, radio, telemetry, and information from the marshalling system, stewards deemed Russell had not slowed for the yellow flags triggered by Nicholas Latifi’s spin at Luffield.

“The driver, Russell, explained to the Stewards that he only saw the double yellow flag signal at Turn 7 in his peripheral vision and believed it was just a single yellow,” the stewards report noted.

“He lifted slightly earlier than he had on his previous lap, but his speed was not ‘significantly’ slower than previous laps, although he explained that he was in full control of the car and felt that he would have been able to take avoiding action if needed; and further that he was at a similar speed because he was on a faster lap overall.

“The Stewards reviewed the team radio and noted that the team warned him that a yellow was ahead. They did not specify that it was a double yellow flag.

“Further, they did not advise him that he needed to abort the lap, following the Race Director’s notes in this regard that he should not be able to set a meaningful lap time.

“This was, in fact, his fastest lap of Q1.

“The purpose of the Race Director’s note is to emphasise the extreme importance of the necessity to follow the flag signals for safety reasons,” the report added.

“While the Stewards explored all possible mitigating factors, they ultimately determined that it was the responsibility of the driver to see and follow the double yellow flag signal correctly in a potentially very dangerous situation.

“The team could certainly have helped more in this regard.

“But ultimately, he could not set a meaningful lap time in this circumstance, and therefore order a Five Grid Place Penalty and three penalty points.”

The penalty drops Russell to last on the grid where he will start alongside Latifi, his Williams team-mate, on the back row.

Russell was the only recipient of a penalty with no action taken on separate summons for Esteban Ocon, Lance Stroll, and Charles Leclec.

Ocon was investigated for allegedly impeding Kimi Raikkonen towards the end of the opening phase of qualifying, though officials deemed the Finn was never close enough to constitute ‘unnecessary impeding’.

Both Stroll and Leclerc’s investigations were for unsafe releases, with stewards finding neither was ‘particularly unsafe’.

The British Grand Prix is scheduled to begin this evening at 21:10 AEST.

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